Southern California’s most toxic polluters will pay more under air board’s fee hike

Southern California air quality officials will dramatically raise fees on toxic polluters in an effort to make oil refineries, manufacturers and other industries pay a greater share of the cost of monitoring and regulating their most health-threatening emissions.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District’s governing board voted 8-4 Friday to increase the toxic emissions fees it collects almost tenfold, from $500,000 annually to $4.9 million.

Regulators said the fee hikes, which will be phased in over two years, are necessary to reduce a massive shortfall. The air district spends about $20 million annually regulating toxic emissions, but the $500,000 in fees it collects do not come anywhere close to recouping those costs.

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